By TERRY A. SIMONSON
CONTEMPLATING SPACE: Heading an effort to decide the future of the space where Drillers Stadium stands at Expo Square are, from left, Expo Square CEO Mark Andress, Tulsa County Commissioner Fred Perry and Director of Development and Governmental Affairs for Tulsa County Terry A. Simonson.
DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
With the last pitch now closing out the great history of Drillers Stadium at Expo Square, the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority (TCPFA) has turned its attention to looking at the highest and best use of the property where the stadium sits. With so much development and improvements at Expo Square over the past few years, it is important to the TCPFA that the 5-plus acres at 15th Street and Yale Avenue enhance and contribute to the overall vision of the Expo Square development.
To begin this process of evaluation and study, the TCPFA appointed the Drillers Stadium Property Committee which represents a wide cross section of interests and stakeholders in Tulsa County. The purpose of the Committee is to present to the TCPFA its findings, conclusions, and recommendations following a thorough study.
Under the leadership of TCPFA Chairman Fred Perry, the Committee began by adopting a set of Master Principals as a guide for the evaluation, study and consideration of ideas. While these Master Principals do not suggest a specific predetermined outcome or preference to the future of the site, they do serve to provide guidance as would a “compass.” These Master Principals are:
•Preserve the primary purpose of the site to serve as a regional public amenity.
•To support only the highest and best uses which are compatible with and promote the greater good for the general population.
•To consider a wide range of uses to create an active, vibrant and everyday community gathering place.
•All uses should serve, complement, be compatible and part of the adjoining neighborhoods as well as the greater community.
•All redevelopment/improvements should contribute to an overall vision of the whole site.
Once the Committee adopted the Master Principal, it then decided it is important to hear from the public on their thoughts, ideas and suggestions by creating an on line survey, sort of an “electronic town hall meeting.” Starting Sept. 11 and running until Oct. 31, the survey will be on the Tulsa County Web site, www.tulsacounty.org. Printed versions of the survey will also be made available at various public locations around Tulsa.
At the conclusion of the survey period, the Committee will study the results looking for trends, common themes and those ideas that match up with the Master Principals. It is hoped this process can be concluded by the first of the year. At that point, a written report with recommendations will be submitted by the Committee to the Authority.
Once received, the Authority could have several options: it could look at the ideas and put out request for proposals to those in the development field to see how they would bring life to these ideas. The Authority could also have additional community meetings to share the results of the survey with the public.
It is hoped by the end of the first quarter of 2010, that the Authority has a much clearer vision on what use of the Drillers Stadium property will serve best the citizens of Tulsa County.
Drillers Stadium Property Committee
Tulsa County Commissioner Fred Perry; Terry Simonson, Tulsa County; Daryl Woodard, Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority; Bob Dick, Retired Tulsa County Commissioner; Mark Andrus, Expo Square; Mike Parrish, Realtor; Aubrey Ringleb, Executive Director Friends of the Fairgrounds; Jeannie McDaniel, Oklahoma State Representative; Eric Gomez, Tulsa City Councilor; Suzann Stewart, Tulsa Metro Chamber; Joshua Roby, Mid First Bank; Trish Kerkstra, Neighborhood Representative; Eddie Huff, Huff Insurance; Terry Walters, City of Sand Springs; Steve Cranford, Retired Director Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry; Francisco Trevino, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Bobby Burnett, Xerox Corporation; Kelly McElroy, Event 1 Productions; John Baker, City County Health Department; and Chuck Lamson, Tulsa Drillers.
The author is Director of Development and Government Affairs for Tulsa County.